When you are children you do not think about creating memories for your old age. You do not even really give a thought to old age and how it eventually comes to most of us. We were living in the here and now, the moment as things happened. We were not planning our futures other than maybe to dream of one day being a beautiful bride or driving a big truck or riding a fire engine, and to act out these imaginative ideas through play.
I can remember pretending to be a teacher and trying to keep my brothers in line, which never worked well. They were always unruly and stubborn students. Sometimes I would pretend I were a great artist or a dancer, or imagine I were a princess or the owner of Black Beauty, galloping through a field of flowers. Our imaginations took us into worlds with no limits. That is waht is so great about childhood.
Every summer we used to travel back to Missouri to visit relatives. We were the "city kids" who did not know much about farms and felt as if we had travelled to a foreign country. Their lifestyles were so different from ours. Back then we would moan and groan about it but we still managed to enjoy ourselves and find plenty to do. As a child I had not thought about how those days I was experiencing then were going to be days I would look back on and treasure when I grew up. Who wouldda thought! And it seems the older I get, the more I look behind me.
I decided to write a poem of those times of what seems like ages ago (I know I am aging but there is still a child inside!). I shared it with my Chrysalis: Women Writers group and they loved it. I hope you all will, too.
We had no knowledge of exotic escapes enjoyed
by other families during the unencumbered summers
when freedom from school was our foremost delight.
Our travels each sweltering summer to the homes
of relatives in muggy Missouri seemed so foreign
to us, a step into another world dissimilar from our own,
A world where toilets were diminutive wooden structures
positioned a sufficient distance from the farmhouse
so that its undesirable aroma would not permeate.
Grubby stables and barns infected with intermingled odors
of farm animals, hay, oats and fetid excrement assailed
our noses as we embarked on our quest for adventure.
We swaggered barefoot in mucky pigsties unaware
of the manure/mud blend encrusted on our feet and legs,
as we mocked squealing piglets and their corpulent sows.
We discovered secret, dark places where adults would not invade,
journeyed dusty paths in anticipation of unbelievable discovery
somewhere around the next turn along the rutted route.
The trails led us through towering cornstalk giants
whispering secrets among themselves, beside a meandering stream
littered with crooning frogs and zipping dragonflies,
to fields where lethargic cows, unconcerned at our invasion
into their serene setting, nibbled grass, flicked their ears and tails,
and shuddered their muscles to displace bothersome flies.
In the velvet evenings we marveled at the swarm of pinpoint stars,
laughed at the playful patterns created by phosphorus flares of
fireflies sporadically signaled as we attempted to snare them.
We existed in the moment, not comprehending then that we
were constructing memories to be evoked intermittently
like the flashing of fireflies on sweltering summer evenings.